Like many people, we eat some meat, and the resulting bones need to be dealt with after the hens have finished cleaning them or they have been used for stock. I have been burying some bones but am running out of suitable spots! Is it possible for me to make bone meal myself at home to use in our garden? How do I make it?


While using bonemeal as a fertilizer has a long tradition, it's usage decreased a lot since the upcoming of BSE as contaminated bones can contaminate your plants and also animals in your garden. BSE is short for Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease), a disease that spreads through feeding bonemeal containing fodder.

This may depend on where you are, but if you use bonemeal, you should always keep this in mind.

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  • how does BSE transfer to plants, and how should we worry about this aspect of BSE? – a coder Apr 25 '19 at 22:01
  • As I am resident in Australia and BSE hasn't reached the country yet, I am fairly safe in using bonemeal, bones etc. – honey8un May 14 '19 at 8:55

Bones don't need to be ground to meal to provide calcium, magnesium etc to your plants. Simply scatter them wherever you wish to moderately boost such nutrients in the soil. As bones their effect is much longer lasting than as meal; as long as the bone pieces endure, they continue to leach nutrients into the soil; and as their leach rate is so slow, you will never get any 'overdose' effects affecting the plants, no matter how many bones are in their immediate environment.

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  • No, they don't need to be ground up but I am approaching saturation in burying them! And if they aren't buried, they become targets for dogs, wild dogs, foxes, etc. That is the point of my original question. It seems no-one is able to tell me how to do it so I will leave it at that. Thanks all. – honey8un May 14 '19 at 8:55
  • Some things are impractical at the cottage-industry level, e.g. rock-crushing and bone-grinding, so there is no simple answer to your question. If simply scattering them in your garden is unacceptable, then the next option requiring the least effort on your part is to burn them in a backyard incinerator or bonfire. Originally the word was literally 'bonefire', suggesting this was the popular solution to this problem before the advent of commercial slaughter-houses and industrial grinding equipment. – user985675 May 17 '19 at 18:59

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